It is a common assumption among most of the people that visiting a website is like viewing a photograph or a video. You assume everything is happening in front of your eyes. But that’s not true.
When you visit a website, no matter whether it is a static or dynamic website, many background activities get triggered and activate themselves. Some files get downloaded and executed by the browsers. You can view those files by right-clicking on any website and then look for View Source.
Now coming to the question: Can I get infected by Virus just by visiting a website?
Well, the answer is both YES and NO.
Let us first look at the ways by which malware enters the computer system.
How Malware Program enters your system?
Through Adware Programs
In order to infect and attack, Cybercriminals create multiple malicious websites and spread them through the Adware, a type of malware.
Whenever any user encounters such a series of ads, they accidentally click on any of them, and that is how the malware finds the way into their system. By clicking on an advertisement, the user may add an extension to the browser or download a malicious program in their system.
Through Push Notifications
Another way the malware may enter your system is by Push Notifications.
Push Notifications are a great way for the company to interact with its customers, make announcements and promote their products.
However, it is greatly mis-used by fake promoters and websites to prompt users to install or download malicious programs.
What they do is, they create a great clickbait push notification and user unknown to what it is, click the Allow button. After the Allow button is clicked, the website gets permission to download any program or add an extension to the browser.
Another method is redirection. In this, the cyber-attackers use the social engineering trick. It simply means that users are targeted psychologically by prompting them to open malicious links.
For example, “Click Here to Win $5000″, “Meet the Love of Your Life by Clicking Here”. The user gets intrigued by such clickbait line and get trapped in the criminals’ web.
Why Malware can’t enter your system just by visiting a Website?
Simply because modern browsers are Smart.
Browsers use a special Sandboxing technique to prevent any harm to your system.
Sandboxing is a software management strategy that is used to safely execute a suspicious code without risking the user’s device or network. It provides an extra layer of security to prevent any malware attack on your system. It was first introduced by Google Chrome in 2008 and soon got adopted by other browsers too.
Sandboxing is done by creating an isolated environment away from the important system files and executing suspicious codes in that environment.
So, whenever any suspicious codes try to execute in your system, the browser will not let it go beyond the sandbox.
Which Malware can get executed by just visiting a Website?
It is very difficult for a malware program to execute themselves without any help from the user-end. But hang-on it is not impossible.
With the rise of Bitcoin in 2016-17, the cryptocurrency has got huge popularity. This subsequently increases the number of cryptocurrency miners.
These miners use many techniques to mine cryptocurrencies. One such method is by implementing Cryptocurrency-Mining Malware in the other systems.
It is a malicious software which is designed to use the power of CPU to mine cryptocurrency without authorization. Cybercriminals deploy this malware to increase their computing power and thereby boosting their chance of getting the cryptocurrency.
It can infect your system by all of the above means which we have discussed earlier. Apart from them, it can enter your system if you just visit the infected website.
It is generally untraceable because it just uses the CPU power and users think that their computer is slowed down by other means. However, cryptocurrency-mining malware has the potential to make a device unresponsive for a legitimate process by exhausting the system’s CPU and memory resources.
A big relief is that this malware is very rare to find. In fact, last year it has declined rapidly. And this year too there are no significant cases found.
From the above discussion, it is clear that today’s browsers and antimalware are much advanced than their counterparts. They are secured and powerful enough to tackle the threats that come towards them.
Also, it is very difficult to place malware simply by opening a website, but hackers do find alternatives for this, including the email spams.
Just keep in mind that new kinds of threats are getting created every other day, so just because today it is not easy to implement malware infection by visiting a website, doesn’t mean that won’t be tomorrow.